Be aware that this text is only relevant in a reflexology context, and not in a traditional Chinese acupuncture context.
Most people identifying them selves as reflexologists don’t use needles. There are however lots of reflexologists working with needles. There are even persons doing reflexological needling without know it. Sujok, ECIWO acupuncture, AcuNova, YNSA and ear-acupuncture are among needle based therapies that belongs to the reflexology category.
Since I got my first needles back in 1997 I have gained some experience. After between 20 000 and 25 000 needles, there has been both good and bad experiences. Luckily the bad experiences have only been on my self.
Before I started using needles my self, I had received quite a few ear-acupuncture treatments. The therapist usually set the needles, and let me alone for 30 minutes, then the needles was taken away. Some times the needles were manipulated or slightly moved half way trough the treatment.
One of the first things I noticed when I started needling my self, was that the amount of release a needle gave was more or less independent of how long time it was inserted. After some timed I formulated a rule of thumb:
When a needle is inserted, after 90 seconds 90% of the tension in that point is released in 90% of the cases.
Of course there are exceptions, that is the other 10%. More on that later. There are even situations where the needles are inserted for only one second, and still giving good effect.
Why will many therapists still let the needles be untouched for much longer periods? One simple answer is money. It is easier to charge the client a huge amount if they are on the bench for 30 minutes than if they are there for only 5 minutes. But the therapeutic outcome will be much the same. I know a therapist with approximately 45 benches in use simultaneously. All he do is inserting and manipulating needles. He had an assistant answering the phone and removing needles. That gave him €50 000 each week. Time is money.
Some times needle gets stuck. The body will not let the needle release, or even suck it in. As I see this, a point with extra need for care behaves this way, and the body will not release the needle until the point has gotten this care or stimulus. Specially if the treatment time has ended this can be a dreary situation. The solution is to treat the location of the needle. No, not where the needle is inserted, but a kind of projection of where it is inserted. There are different ways to think about this, and is best explained by help of an example.
Say a needle is stuck in one of the knee projections in a ear. Option 1 is to treat the knee in another projection, for example the proximal interphalangeal joints (see second picture here). Option 2 is to treat an ear projection, for example on the little toe according to most foot reflexology maps. Option 3, probably the best if it is available, on the same knee reflex on the opposite ear. That is a two in one option. The obvious, another projection of the knee, the less obvious, the second ear is a full projection of the first ear. The same for option 4, an ear projection on the knee. This might be difficult to locate.
If it is available??? Yes, if a limb is amputated it is not available. Another situation can be overload.
I can be quite eager in my treatments, some times too much. Luckily for my clients, this is only in my self treatments. In these situations I have worked too much on a small area, and got an inflammation. Then I just have to find a new area to work on. As a teacher I have to say: